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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Biking archbishop's charity trek
Most Rev Vincent Nichols
The archbishop had a hip replacement operation in 2002
The Archbishop of Birmingham is swapping the pulpit for a bicycle as he aims to travel nearly 250 miles across his diocese in just five days.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the city's Roman Catholic archbishop, is being joined by about 50 other riders.

The charity ride got under way on Monday at Stone in Staffordshire and will also pass through Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.

The archbishop said the trip would help him see his diocese with "new eyes".

'No Lance Armstrong'

The 58-year old Archbishop, who had a hip replacement operation in February 2002, said: "I've been getting in some preparation.

"Sixty miles in a day - including the Malvern Hills - is a bit daunting.

The cycle lanes of Staffordshire provide a very different experience to the M6
Most Rev Vincent Nichols
"But it's hardly the Tour de France and I'm no Lance Armstrong."

He added: "Bishops always spend time travelling the length and breadth of the diocese.

"Doing it by bike is just that bit different.

"I hope I'll meet many people during this ride, especially young people.

"And I'll see the diocese with new eyes myself.

"The cycle lanes of Staffordshire provide a very different experience to the M6."

The Cycle for Youth began at Aston Hall in Stone, Staffordshire on Monday morning and is due to finish at Fawley Court in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on Friday afternoon.

  • The places being visited on the 235-mile ride
  • Day One - Stone, Cannock Chase and Burton-on-Trent
  • Day Two - Walsall, Lichfield Cathedral and Oscott, near Sutton Coldfield
  • Day Three - Birmingham, Worcester Cathedral and Malvern
  • Day Four - Tewkesbury, Upper Slaughter and Witney
  • Day Five - Wallingford, Watlington, Stonor Park and Fawley Court in Henley-on-Thames

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